Trading standards officers are warning residents not to be fooled by scammers claiming to be from the NHS ‘test and trace’ service.
These bogus callers tell the person that they have been in contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 and therefore need to self-isolate for seven days.
The caller then tells them they need to take a test in the next 72 hours, and asks them to send their address and a payment of £500 so they can be sent a test kit and results, and warn that they will be fined if they don’t comply.
Any legitimate call from the NHS test and trace service will not ask for any payment. The correct way to arrange/order a test is via www.nhs.uk/coronavirus or by calling 119 if you have no internet access.
Lesley Jones, Bury’s director of public health, said: “The NHS will contact you if someone else who has tested positive for the virus has been in close contact with you. You’ll be asked to self-isolate for 14 days. You’ll be given advice on how to do this, what symptoms you should look out for and what to do if you develop the illness. You won’t be asked to pass on the details of anyone you’ve been in contact with either. This is because, unless you have tested positive or developed symptoms, there is no need to notify anyone you’ve been in touch with at this stage.”
Angela Lomax, Bury’s head of trading standards, added: “You should never respond to unsolicited phone calls asking for your bank or card details. Such requests should be a red flag – if you’re asked to hand over this information to a caller it’s a scammer trying to rip you off!
“Genuine callers won’t ask for any personal details or payment information – these are phishing scams looking to take advantage of people’s worries.”
Anyone who suspects they have been scammed is urged to report it by calling the Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 0808 223 1133 or by visiting https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/about-us/contact-us/contact-us/consumer-service/